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Pricing & Speed Performance of UA in-flight Wifi {Archive}

Pricing & Speed Performance of UA in-flight Wifi {Archive}

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Old Mar 14, 20, 2:54 am   -   Wikipost
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This is an archive thread, the active thread is Pricing & Speed Performance of UA in-flight Wifi

Pricing appears to be based upon the sector length, with a new purchase required for each sector.

Due to the nature of the satellite system, high latency is to be expected when using the system.

Here's the list of specific UA planes that have wifi.

And here's the overview from united.com.

Subscriptions are now offered which allow for unlimited wifi on flights
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Old Jan 18, 13, 7:05 am
  #1  
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Pricing & Speed Performance of UA in-flight Wifi {Archive}

I tried it (yesterday UA 931) LHR->SFO.

Price was $14.95 slower and $19.95 faster speeds.

Experience was just ok. I signed up for the slower version and tried it in two parts of the flight:

(a) About 2 hours into the flight (Greenland area): speed was miserable: 1.7 SECOND latency time, about 400kbps download and only 10 kbps upload. Although the download measurement seems ok, a technical user will know that such a long latencies makes most internet browsing virtually unusable. I was able to send small textual emails about 40% of the time - otherwise got a timeout (all speeds measured several times by speedtest.net)

(b) I tried it again over Canada and the speeds were better: Latency about 1 second, download about 700-800 kbps, upload also about 800 kbps. Browsing usable, and could send and receive small emails without problem.

SO, a mixed bag overall...

Last edited by StingWest; Jan 18, 13 at 11:08 am Reason: grammar fixes
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Old Jan 18, 13, 7:08 am
  #2  
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What's more, awareness is probably low since it's so new on UA. What's going to happen when more people start using it?

GoGo felt fast early on, until more people started using it.

Last edited by FlyinHawaiian; Jan 18, 13 at 8:42 am Reason: let's skip the rhetoric and stick to the facts, please
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Old Jan 18, 13, 7:18 am
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Just a quick plug on network connections with unpredictable latency and flaky delivery rates, like cellular or satellite networks, if you're ever planning to ssh into machines and hang out at a remote command line, consider using Mosh (http://mosh.mit.edu/). You don't lose your shell even if you change IPs (roam from wired to wireless) or experience even a large window of undeliverable packets.

I've used mosh to preserve the same shell across roaming wireless networks and across continents, no worries, works great.

This is of course only relevant advice if you're doing command-line kinds of tasks it's how I use my chat clients, for example but it's not gonna work for keeping a stateful Web browser connection.
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Old Jan 18, 13, 7:28 am
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same as LH?

Is UA's provider the same as LH? I've used wi-fi on LH maybe 3-4 time last year FRA-BOS (vv) and the speed was always pretty impressive. Good enough to use both Skype (video) and FaceTime.
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Old Jan 18, 13, 11:17 am
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More information:

Forgot to add above that the Google.com site defaulted to Google, Philippines. Speedtest also calculated the closest test server as being in Atlanta for the first part of the flight and San Francisco for the second. This probably just indicates the location of the ground station serving the satellite feed or something, but was interesting.

Regarding the use of two-way streaming audio and video as in Facetime, Skype etc: Even if they don't explicitly block the ports for those services (which I assume they do), people might find them unusable because the huge latency to/from the satellite (not to mention that your seatmate might get a little tired of hearing you chat for hours on end!)
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Old Jan 18, 13, 11:26 am
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Since its satellite connection, it's not unusual to have latency > than 500ms. 400kb download speed is reasonable given its on an airplane. And latency does not affect web browsing as much as gaming or video streaming, you web page will still load.
Technically, the bandwidth satellite connection can provide is much bigger than the Gogo 3.1Mb/s which is shared by the everyone in the same coverage section.
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Old Jan 18, 13, 11:30 am
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Rumor has it that they're using reconditioned, extremely high speed, routers originally used in the Red Carpet Clubs (aka United Clubs) !
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Old Jan 19, 13, 6:58 am
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Originally Posted by mherdeg View Post
Just a quick plug on network connections with unpredictable latency and flaky delivery rates, like cellular or satellite networks, if you're ever planning to ssh into machines and hang out at a remote command line, consider using Mosh (http://mosh.mit.edu/).
Thanks for the tip on Mosh - plan to put it on my Android phone!
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Old Jan 19, 13, 8:13 am
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Originally Posted by LilAbner View Post
Rumor has it that they're using reconditioned, extremely high speed, routers originally used in the Red Carpet Clubs (aka United Clubs) !
Let's hope its not equipment from GRU. Internet servce at that Club is horrendous.
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Old Jan 19, 13, 8:18 am
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I'd be interested to see some more data points, e.g. North Atlantic tracks (where most East Coast-EU flights traverse), transpacific and domestic.

$14.99 sounds good for LHR-SFO, but I expect those prices to increase dramatically after the introductory period.
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Old Jan 19, 13, 11:35 am
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I tried an air interent system a few years ago with LH. I enjoyed using Skype-Out to make a couple of brief calls (voice wasn't blocked then). It was provided by Boeing. Speed over the Atlantic was fine as I recall. It was expensive ($35) but I thought it worthwhile at the time.
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Old Jan 19, 13, 11:49 am
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The issue is that everyone will expect "4G" speeds and not think they are in a tube moving at 500mph.
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Old Jan 19, 13, 2:35 pm
  #13  
Ari
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Originally Posted by StingWest View Post
I tried it (yesterday UA 931) LHR->SFO.

Price was $14.95 slower and $19.95 faster speeds.

Experience was just ok. I signed up for the slower version and tried it in two parts of the flight:

(a) About 2 hours into the flight (Greenland area): speed was miserable: 1.7 SECOND latency time, about 400kbps download and only 10 kbps upload. Although the download measurement seems ok, a technical user will know that such a long latencies makes most internet browsing virtually unusable. I was able to send small textual emails about 40% of the time - otherwise got a timeout (all speeds measured several times by speedtest.net)

(b) I tried it again over Canada and the speeds were better: Latency about 1 second, download about 700-800 kbps, upload also about 800 kbps. Browsing usable, and could send and receive small emails without problem.

SO, a mixed bag overall...
Anyone tested the "faster" connection?

Seems like the slower connection will work just fine for most business needs-- emails-- so long as you aren't using a webmail interface. The upload speed is troubling because people do have to send attachments from time to time.
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Old Jan 19, 13, 2:51 pm
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Originally Posted by LilAbner View Post
Rumor has it that they're using reconditioned, extremely high speed, routers originally used in the Red Carpet Clubs (aka United Clubs) !
Thats very possible considering the high speed quality of both the routers and the toasters that are in use in said clubs.
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Old Jan 19, 13, 6:54 pm
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After getting a little worried I decided to google a bit and found a few pieces of reassuring news.

So TLANT, the widebody installation will use Ku band satellites from Intelsat: http://blog.apex.aero/ife/big-bandwi...intelsat-deal/

The article speaks about capacity and coverage coming online with satellite launches in 2015 and 2016.

Haven't found any announcements about big bandwidth for the Pacific area or coverage for polar flights.

Last edited by lensman; Jan 19, 13 at 6:55 pm Reason: grammar
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